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Michele Greppi believes half the fun of TV is talking about it -- whether it's whining about the lame-ass finale for the once-beloved "Veronica Mars" or gushing about the kick-ass coda of "The Shield,' which lacked only one last face-to-face at which Mackey could have -- deservedly -- gone postal on Shane. Enter OMGreppi, which will focus on things that were said or seen on TV in the previous 24 hours or so that had Ms. Greppi exclaiming or muttering "omigawd!" at her 24/7 television set.

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June 2007 Archives

(Rio) Bravo, Bob Schieffer

June 28, 2007 10:31 AM

Bob Schieffer’s New York musical debut with Honky Tonk Confidential Wednesday night was a big bold-faced blast that benefited the Walter Reed Society and made a good case for buying the group’s fourth album, “Road Kill Stew and Other News,” which features some songs written and sorta warbled by Mr. Schieffer.

Despite debilitating heat that knocked out power on the Upper (and higher) East Side long enough to snarl surface and subterranean traffic, and thunderstorms, the performance space at Hill Country, an new Austin-style barbecue spot in the Flatiron District was packed. Packed.
Tom Brokaw was there. NBC News President Steve Capus was there – but his off-again-on-again earring wasn’t. He good-naturedly blamed last-minute notice from Mr. Brokaw for that fashion omission. OMGreppi equally good-naturedly suggests that if he’s not going to wear his earring every day, he should keep a spare in his desk drawer at "30 Rock" for just such occasions.

Because if there ever were a night on which to throw off your tired old dress codes, this was it.

Mr. Schieffer started the evening in a perfectly creased white shirt, jeans (and a belt he’d hand-tooled in school) and boots and a pristine white hat but switched to a genuine Texas Christian University blue-and-gold football jersey – No. 70 in honor of his age.

The triangles of gold at the neckline and the sleeves, poufed to allow for shoulder pads when needed, added up to a sort of ornamentally edgy outlaw look that Mr. Schieffer pulled off quite well.

At the Schieffer family table with wife Pat: one New York Times reporter and one unemployed gossip reporter; “48 Hours Investigates” executive producer Susan Zirinsky, husband Joe Peyronnin and their 11-year-old daughter Zoe; Andy Rooney; and not-so-retired former CBS network president Gene Jankowski (who loosened and then finally doffed his tie).

Elsewhere in the crowd: agents Richard Leibner and Steve Sadicario; “Early Show” anchor Harry Smith and sportscaster wife Andrea Joyce; “Good Morning America” executive producer Jim Murphy (who worked often with Mr. Schieffer during the years he was executive producer of “CBS Evening News”), “Sunday Morning” executive producer Rand Morrison and humorist Bill Geist (working on a Schieffer piece); and vocalist Phoebe Snow.

As OMGreppi was leaving, Victor Neufeld, Paula Zahn’s executive producer and newsman about New York, was heading back in after having checked on his rain-dappled Vespa.

A good time was definitely had by all, y’all, especially during Mr. Schieffer’s performance of the classic-to-be “TV Anchorman.”

When Kimmel’s Comedy Really Isn’t Pretty

June 27, 2007 9:35 AM

What do Paris Hilton and Jimmy Kimmel’s appendix have in common?

They both inspired some very-funny-turned-very-unappetizing comedy bits Tuesday night, on the host’s first night back on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” after an emergency appendectomy.

Mr. Kimmel’s style is to take comedy all the way to stomach-churning and beyond whenever possible, thus driving off those who just tuned in for funny.

OMGreppi was turned off “Kimmel” for months after his shock-comedy girlfriend Sarah Silverman sat on the back of his “Kimmel” couch and sang to him a song she’d written about the irritable bowel syndrome and /////////////diahrrea////////// she said they have in common.

And so Tuesday we had the video time line of Ms. Hilton’s un-perp walk to freedom after 23 days in jail—how changed can she be if she does her little red-carpet finger waggle to the cameras and the crowds?—with close-ups of tooth-challenged Jake Byrd proving that his interruption of a press conference earlier in the Hilton saga was, alas, no fluke. And, really, what’s funny about asking a very ordinary woman who had the bad luck to have, um, business to conduct at the jail at the moment Ms. Hilton was released, “Who are you wearing?”

We had Mr. Kimmel passing off a shrimp as his appendix … and then dunking it in cocktail sauce and eating it.

But OMGreppi suppressed her gag reflex and was rewarded with a delightful show that centered on Don Rickles, the insult comedian making the promotional rounds with his best-selling “Rickles’ Book.”

Mr. Rickles is a welcome and revered guest on “Late Show With David Letterman” and “The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson” and, of course, “Live With Regis and Kelly,” but Mr. Kimmel did it up right. He donned a tux—the stylist should be fired for choosing a most unflattering collar that gave the host’s mid-section a penguin-like shape—for the occasion.

He planted longtime Rickles pal Bob Newhart in the audience and then went to hilarious extremes to overlook him during an audience Q&A. Watching Mr. Rickles choke up while talking about Mr. Newhart was the sort of memorable, you-can’t-script-this moment that keep OMGreppi addicted to late-night shows even though she can no longer guarantee she’s awake for the broadcast and that keep OMGreppi’s DVR near capacity at all times.

For a classy close, Mr. Kimmel, who is, after all, a child of Vegas, closed with a performance by Keely Smith, an icon from the heyday of the man who became the sultan of insult comics by making fun of Frank Sinatra and the rest of the best.

“I enjoy being on your show. You don’t help me. It’s like being with nobody, you know what I’m saying? When Johnny Carson was alive, bang, boom, bang. Letterman, bang, boom, bang. Jay Leno, boom,” Mr. Rickles riffed. “That’s a joke. Jay knows I like him.”

And Mr. Rickles knows Mr. Leno can take it.

Mr. Byrd, on the other hand, should find the T-shirted woman he made fun of in the Hilton piece and apologize.


Say What????!!!!???

June 26, 2007 8:43 AM

OMGreppi was, she is sad to say, awake at 4 a.m. (Eastern) when the breaking news alert from ABC News set off the buzzer on her BlackBerry: “AFTER 23 DAYS IN AN L.A. COUNTY JAIL PARIS HILTON WAS RELEASED.”

Less than a half-hour later, Taina Hernandez, informed viewers of ABC’s “World News Now,” that mama Kathy Hilton had arrived at the jail to pick up daughter Paris. “Looks like the release will be imminent,” said Ms. Hernandez.

Down, inner lexicologist-grammarian, down. She could have said “was imminent.”

And to think that the overnight newscast’s announcer had just read an e-mail that said the once-smart program should be re-titled “World Fluff Story Now” and that someone running the show should rent “Network.”

Ms. Hernandez’s baby-faced co-anchor Ryan Owens, joked that the e-mail was from his mother and he had asked her to be more creative if she was going to write to the show. “ ‘World Fluff Story News’? I mean, come on. I expect better.”

So did fans of the original “World News Now,” until it became painfully clear that witty repartee was no longer a skill required of or desired in its co-anchors—there will never be as ineffable a pairing as Anderson Cooper and Alison Stewart in 2000.

So the sleep-disturbed who know that the competing “Up to the Minute” on CBS doesn’t rise to the level of sleep-inducing, have learned to watch “WNN” for the repeats of “Nightline” segments and hit mute during any attempt at extemporaneous conversation.

The other alternative, checking out replays of cable news channel shows, can doom any attempt to fall back asleep.

“There’s no question that Ms. Hilton has been glorified by many in the media, and that is a bad thing,” declared “The O’Reilly Factor’s” Bill O’Reilly, introducing a segment in which just how bad was about to be made clear.

Funny, “Larry King Live” guest host Harvey Levin, repeatedly made clear Monday night just what a journalistic coup Mr. King had achieved in landing the first post-jail TV interview with Ms. Hilton after Team Hilton blew deals with ABC and NBC.

“Larry King is the man,” Mr. Levin said. “This interview is a big deal and Larry King got it.”

This was after he had moderated a round of reports from Canton, Ohio, about first appearance in court of a cop accused of killing the woman nine months pregnant with their second illegitimate child and the woman charged with obstructing the investigation.

A quick read of the transcript of Monday night’s “Larry King” will show that coherence and credibility were not a requirement to be booked for either the Canton or the Hilton segment.

OMGreppi got writer’s cramp scribbling down OMG quotes (and got positively dizzy when trying to capture what was said by Brody (“Princes of Malibu”) Jenner, whose MySpace page lists his occupation as “hustler”).

“Good for Larry King,” said “Extra TV” Tanika Ray, from outside the jail that still contained Ms. Hilton at the time. “He’s going to be talking to her on Wednesday and that will answer a lot of questions.”

And probably reiterate a lot more.

OMGreppi and others waiting for the “why” of all this might as well be waiting for Godot.

Or for “American Morning” on CNN Tuesday, when a live segment-opening shot, clearly labeled “LAX” was explained by Kiran Chetry as “a beautiful shot. LAX, I’m assuming, since there’s a big L-A-A [sic] followed by an X.”


Bob Schieffer, Yes; Paris Hilton, No

June 25, 2007 9:16 AM

OMGreppi has better things to do this Wednesday night than feel her skin crawl for the hour that Paris Hilton is scheduled to appear on CNN’s “Larry King Live.”

As a long-time FOB—Fan Of Bob Schieffer—OMGreppi will be in the New York City crowd attending a benefit concert headlined by the moderator of CBS’s “Face the Nation” and the D.C.-based country western band, Honky Tonk Confidential. On the bill that night: “TV Anchorman,” one of the songs from the group’s fourth album, “Road Kill Stew and Other News.”

Mr. Schieffer wrote the lyrics for four of the song and sorta sings.

In addition to seeing a whole new side of Mr. Schieffer—who knew he could work a TV news consultant and “Brokeback Mountain” joke into the same ditty?—our presence will benefit the Walter Reed Society, which benefits the welfare and morale of soldiers and family and staff at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Music starts at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Hill Country, 30 W. 26th St., in Manhattan. It’s $15 per head. The reservation list has started to fill, so OMGreppi recommends a call to 212-255-4544.

Remembering Carl Killingsworth

On a less upbeat note: Carl Killingsworth, one of the funniest, sweetest, most joyous and most memorable gentlemen ever to leave the Deep South and to cross OMGreppi’s path, died Saturday afternoon after a long and gutsy battle with liver and pancreatic cancer. He was a month shy of his 71st birthday.

After a long stretch with NBC and WNBC-TV—where he was doing PR when OMGreppi met him—he began commuting across the Hudson River to CNBC in 1996.

He led a glamorous life—how many men do you know who had escorted Jacqueline Onassis?—but you were more likely to hear about that from someone other than Carl, who appreciated good dish but didn’t participate.

At CNBC, Carl handled the details for everything from road trips for VIPs and shows—handing out CNBC pens along the way—to the company Christmas party and summer picnic.

If you asked for advice and counsel, he gave it. No matter who you were. If you were smart, you took it. No matter who you were.

Although Carl didn't have family in New York, he considered all of you at CNBC an important part of his family. In that way, he is survived by every CNBC employee.

There will be a wake and funeral in New Bern, N.C.

There will be a memorial in New York.

OMGreppi doesn’t envy whoever will plan that one.

It will have to live up to Carl.

Let’s Not and Say We Did

June 21, 2007 10:13 AM

According to the New York Post today, NBC Universal is forking over as much as $1 million to secure the first post-jail interview with lighter-than-air-head Paris Hilton, to be conducted by Meredith Vieira on “Today” next week.

A “Today” representative declined to comment to OMGreppi about the report, except to suggest that “we don’t think anyone has secured anything.”

The Post report says NBCU President and CEO Jeff Zucker personally called Ms. Hilton’s father, Rick, to make the deal. ABC’s Barbara Walters apparently was wasting her time by talking to Ms. Hilton’s mother, Kathy, and with Paris herself during a dutifully reported phone call from the Los Angeles slammer to which the celebutante was returned by a judge determined that she should serve her full sentence for assorted traffic and dumb-blond offenses.

Word is Ms. Hilton said she would not consent to an interview with “Today” co-host Matt Lauer, who racked up big numbers Monday night with his heavily promoted interview with England’s Princes William and Harry.

So presumably Ms. Vieira still has time to save herself by saying something disparaging about Ms. Hilton.

But, really, what can Ms. Hilton say to any interviewer that means anything to anyone who lives in, or has a daughter who lives in, the real world?
Nothing. N.O.T.H.I.N.G.

Since she crept onto the socio-tabloid scene as a dramatically under-age and badly dressed partygoer, she has contributed nothing worthwhile to the world, except for keeping paparazzi employed, and she can’t even strike a natural pose for them. Her favorite word is “hot.” Her favorite look is vapid.

There truly is nothing to be gleaned from her tale of wealthy ho, err, woe. When she leaves jail this time, let’s let her and her pocketbook zoo drift out of the spotlight and into oblivion, the thing she fears most. No phony “I’m going to stop being dumb and do something worthwhile” confessionals. No book reports on her Cliffs Notes versions of the Bible and other good books she carried so cleverly—when she wasn’t attending MTV events.

We’ll all be better off. Even Paris Hilton.

Not that OMGreppi is pleading on behalf of anyone but herself. See, at times like this, OMGreppi has to watch things she wouldn’t choose to watch because this is her job. And then she has to go take another shower. And we all know how dangerous the combination of water and witches is.

Clueless Cougars and Kittens

June 20, 2007 9:47 AM

On “The View” this morning, Gayle King, sometimes known as Oprah Winfrey’s BFF, hit an annoying nail smack on the head during a “hot topic” about “The Age of Love,” the NBC summer series that pits “cougars” against “kittens” for the affection of sidelined tennis pro Mark Philippoussis.

“I don’t like any show where you have women standing there going ‘pick me, pick me, please pick me.’ ... I just don’t like women begging, because I just don’t think you should want to be with a guy who doesn’t want to be with you.”

OMGreppi thinks no one should want to be on a show that’s going to let millions of people know how low you are willing to go to get a moment on TV.

What gene is missing in someone so willing to humiliate themselves in return for time in the spotlight?

What’s wrong with viewers who can watch the self-degradation with such glee?
OMGreppi skipped “Age of Love” because she didn’t even want to see the congenitally personable Mark Consuelos embarrassing himself as host. (Indeed, Ms. King made clear that she likes Mr. Consuelos. “I like him very much. He’s married to Kelly Ripa and I like the two of them,” Ms. King said.)

On the other hand, OMGreppi must confess to getting a slightly malicious little thrill out of seeing “The View’s” young Miss Elisabeth Hasselbeck having a totally clueless moment while Barbara Walters, Joy Behar and Ms. King warbled “It Must Be Him.”

“Age of Love” debuted in third place in its time slot Monday night. ‘Nuff seen, ‘nuff said?

Claudia Cohen and the Heart of 'Live'

June 19, 2007 11:08 AM

For a good cry, call Michael Gelman.

There’s no one better at plucking heart strings you didn’t even know you had than Mr. Gelman, the can-do-more-with-less executive producer of “Live With Regis and Kelly.”

He snuck up on OMGreppi this morning with a lovely retrospective of “Live” moments from the two-decade association with the show of Claudia Cohen, the socialite/gossipeuse who died last Friday after a quiet six-year battle with ovarian cancer. She was only 56.

Ms. Cohen predated OMGreppi’s 11-year tenure at the New York Post, so she never seemed like one of the real Page 6 characters rooted in the Post’s newsrooms in the no-man’s land near the South Street Seaport in way-downtown Manhattan or in parent company News Corp.’s spiffier Midtown Rockefeller Center digs.

Ms. Cohen had been born to money and married money, coming out of her marriage to Revlon billionaire Ron Perelman with some $80 million in pocket change. Her bold-faced life, her exhaustingly tended looks—the aesthetic of “Dynasty” still lived in Ms. Cohen—and the on-air demeanor that never evolved to anything approaching natural, all made it difficult for OMGreppi to relate to her.

But the fact that she was OK in Mr. Gelman’s and Regis Philbin’s books eventually made her OK in OMGreppi’s book. (A transition that The Donald Trumpster never has and likely never will make.)

The memories revived in “Live’s” nostalgic piece this morning included a clip from the day Mr. Philbin and Kelly Ripa’s predecessor, Kathie Me Gifford presented a very pregnant Ms. Cohen a baby stroller that jumped out just because compared to the extreme luxury strollers of today, it seemed almost too stripped down utilitarian for an A-List mom of only 14 years ago.

By the time the short piece—a veritable cavalcade of hair and makeup and shoulder padded couture—OMGreppi was wiping mist from her eyes.

Mr. Gelman has the touch that no one else in daytime TV has. He finds a good story that needs no mawkish manipulation and goes right for the heart to let it tell itself.

When “Live” marries off a couple whose challenges remind the rest of us how lucky we are or when “Live” makes dreams come true for Mother’s Day, OMGreppi goes through a whole box of tissues.

And she leaves a message for Mr. Gelman while she’s still sobbing and choked up, to say thanks. It isn’t often that daytime TV takes the time to let a viewer really feel something.

Do ya hear that Daytime Emmy voters? Do ya?

When are you going to let “Live” feel the love?


A No-show Fren-Emmy

June 18, 2007 9:21 AM

Despite last-minute attempts to drum up anticipation of a reunion of “The View” and Rosie O’Donnell, the former co-host did not make an appearance at the 34th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards ceremony Friday. Is anyone surprised that Ms. O’Donnell had better things to do than watch that nice Ellen DeGeneres pick up another of the Emmys that Ms. O’Donnell used to be able to count on when she still pretended to aspire to being regarded as the Queen of Nice?

Ms. DeGeneres upheld her own reputation as a fashion adventuress with black evening slacks and a short, boxy white jacket and “tie” that was part choirboy, part busboy, part Buster Brown and part Katharine Hepburn.

It worked, which is more than OMGreppi can say in general about the parade of personalities who seemed to have taken leave of their common sense and their stylists. The evening proved, yet again, that there is no substitute for a genuine sense of style and that seeing so many otherwise attractive women trying so hard to prove they can manage to over- and under-dress, at the same time, is a genuinely scary experience.

Orange seemed to be the predominant color of the night. It seemed everyone from the East Coast got themselves a store-bought tan to try to pass for Californians. Alas, most of them sported bathing suit “tan” lines that contrasted starkly with the unnatural skin tones.

Eva Larue, the former “All My Children” star who graduated to “CSI: Miami,” proved that too much of a good thing is not a good thing. Loved the cobalt blue of her dress, but not when it competed with so much pumpkin-colored cleavage.

Rachael Ray also had a brand-new bronze complexion, newly blackened hair and a plunging neckline that cried out for double-sided tape. The display of droopy, pancake-style cleavage was not one of her better choices.

Give Tyra Banks a gold star for fashion daring, if not for studying her Emmy script. Her coppery construction was hard for her to move in—a conclusion that was unavoidable when she realized she was on the wrong side of the set she shared with Elmo when the two were paired as presenters.

That brings OMGreppi to the best line of the night. Elmo pointed out to Ms. Banks that his Muppeteer, Kevin Clash, had just won his 12th Daytime Emmy, but “Elmo doesn’t know what Kevin does. He just lies around all the time,” Elmo said as he peered over the little wall that hid Mr. Clash from sight.

Final thought: The first competition for morning shows in the Daytime Emmys ended with a tie for ABC’s “Good Morning America” and NBC’s “Today.” Those awards were presented Thursday night at the non-televised creative arts ceremonies.

OMGreppi thinks it will be very hard to drum up interest in the category for a second year.